Golf Course Management

JAN 2017

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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48 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.17 elevator to his fifth-floor desk. "I carried my books. It was exhausting," he says. Ultimately, it was worth the climb — for Christians, and for all of those who scaled impressive heights on their own by follow - ing his lead. "He guided me. His knowledge of the industry, his passion for it, was pretty conta - gious," says Jeffrey Kadlec, who runs GLK Turf Solutions in San Antonio. "It's kind of cliché, but he had an open-door policy. I never saw his door closed. He was always there for us. Very present." Brent Wadsworth You could say Brent Wadsworth ben - efited from insider knowledge when he re- corded a hole-in-one on May 20, 1982. The blessed event happened on No. 4 of the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Re - sort in Palm Harbor, Fla. A perfectionist at heart, Wadsworth certainly put his heart and soul into that particular golf course. He did build the place, after all. There is a pretty good possibility that you've played on a golf course Wadsworth built. Wadsworth Golf Construction Co., established in 1958 in Plainfield, Ill., has built or remodeled nearly 900 golf courses in 47 states. "Golf is such a great game. I have pur - sued it all of my life," says Wadsworth, who will turn 88 in March. "I've gotten to know mountains, lakes, rivers and prairies." The industry is better because of him, golf course architect Michael Hurdzan, Ph.D., says. "His work transcends this whole industry. Everybody knows the name Wadsworth. He built that reputation by doing outstanding work," says Hurdzan, who received GCSAA's highest honor, the Old Tom Morris Award, in 2013. "In my mind, he is the first national golf course builder. I really think Wadsworth set the trend for what the business ought to be. He set the model. Everyone else had to live up to it." One of the courses Wadsworth's com - pany did some work on was Augusta Na- tional Golf Club, home to the Masters. "The golf course industry is a small world with a great family of people," says Marsh Benson, who was superintendent at Augusta National at the time. "I think what glues that family together and makes it seem tighter in relationships has to do with the development of young individuals through mentoring. That mentoring causes ripples to flow through the industry, and I can think of no better example than Brent Wadsworth and his company as representatives of this mentoring rippling through our industry." Wadsworth's passion for the land can be traced to his roots as a young boy who lived at 956 Buell Ave. in Joliet, Ill. "It started as a kid, mowing our lawn. I loved trying to make it look good," he says. In time, he studied landscape architecture at the Uni - versity of Illinois before serving in the U.S. Air Force, working for the National Secu - rity Agency, an intelligence organization launched in 1952. "We were instrumental in trying to keep track of what might af - fect our country in one way or another," Wadsworth says. What happened next had everything to do with golf. In 1954, Wadsworth joined golf course architect Larry Packard to form Packard and Wadsworth. Four years later, Wadsworth decided to shift his attention to golf course construction, launching his own business during the time the emer - gence of Arnold Palmer was revolutionizing the game. "I liked to get outside, work with the ground," he says. "Back in those days, they didn't have as many golf courses. For - tunately, it came at the right time in my life. Golf was expanding." Among the courses his company has built are Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., The Country Club at Castle Pines in Castle Rock, Colo., and Shadow Creek in Las Vegas. Wadsworth constructed all four courses at Innisbrook Resort, each of which was designed by Packard. No matter the architect, Wadsworth always had one goal. "You wanted to please them. You wanted to do what they wanted — that was my goal," Wadsworth says. "They were behind the de - sign; I tried to provide for their interests." Howard Richman (hrichman@gcsaa.org) is GCM 's associate editor. Brent Wadsworth entered the golf course construction business in 1958, and his company is still going strong. Wadsworth Golf Construction's profile of customers includes Augusta National Golf Club. Photo courtesy of Wadsworth Golf Construction

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